Q1.You are the director of Fun Start Day Care, a culturally and socioeconomically diverse early childhood care center in an urban area. You observe John, an early childhood professional in one of your classrooms. John is a young, white, Christian, and a recent college graduate from a small town. One of the white children in John’s classroom asks one of the black children why his skin is so dirty for the whole class to hear. John does not answer the question. Instead he replies, “People may look different, but everyone has a mommy and daddy at home who love them no matter what they look like.”
You are concerned by this and begin to visit his classroom more often. You recognize over time that the majority of the material John presents to the children reflects only mainstream cultural practices and identities. The children in the classroom begin to behave in ways that reflect this bias as well. John never discusses racial discrimination or sensitivity, and instead, chooses to ignore the diverse nature of his classroom in favor of a model that assumes that all the children are the same and have the same needs.
Explain how the following key concepts apply to the classroom situation described in the scenario: in-group bias, racial socialization, and culturally-responsive teaching.
Q2.A 4-year-old girl named Wadja, who is a recent immigrant from Afghanistan, recently enrolled in the early childhood care center near a U.S. military base. Wadja will be placed in Miss Shauna’s class. Miss Shauna has read about Afghanistani culture, has seen many acts of violence on the news taking place in Afghanistan, and is worried about the class accepting Wadja and how she will adjust to her new environment.
Upon meeting the family and Wadja, Miss Shauna realized that she was very well adjusted, a bit shy, but was becoming more curious about the other children. After a few weeks, Miss Shauna noticed that Wadja started to take her headscarf off after her parents dropped her off in the morning. Wadja also seemed a bit self-conscious about the food her parents packed for her, resulting in Wadja sitting alone or sometimes saying she was not hungry and did not want to eat.
Many of the children in Miss Shauna’s classroom have relatives who are serving in the military, with some stationed in Afghanistan. One boy in class told Wadja that his uncle killed people in Afghanistan. One of the other children recently made a comment directed toward Wadja that “all Muslims are bad.” He later revealed that he had heard his grandfather say this a few times recently.
Explain how the following key concepts apply to the classroom situation described in the scenario: acceptance; discrimination based on race, religion, or gender; acculturation; and privilege and power.
Q3.Rosa is a new administrator at Building Blocks Day Care, an early childhood care center. She is 25 years old and arrives at the center at 5:00 a.m. to do her yoga workout before the children and families arrive. Rosa has made it very clear that health and fitness are very important to her. Marco, who is 67, is an assistant caregiver at the center who loves to cook and bring in treats for the other early childhood professionals. Rosa asked Marco to stop bringing in treats for the staff, since they are “filled with sugar and unhealthy.” Marco reluctantly complies.
At a staff meeting a few weeks later, Rosa presented information about obesity in the workplace. In the staff meeting, Rosa said, “If you are overweight, you are setting a bad example for the children in this center.” Marco is concerned about his ability to get into shape, as he has recently undergone knee surgery. Rosa, however, constantly reminds the staff of the importance of setting a healthy example.
One day she walks into the kitchen while Marco is putting sugar in his coffee and says, “I NEVER put sugar in my coffee. Have you ever thought of giving it up?” Eventually, Marco complained to the director of the early childhood care center. He was told that Rosa has come in to make some much needed changes at the center and that the entire staff should follow her example. Marco becomes worried about his job security but does not feel that he has any support from anyone at the center.
Explain how the following key concepts apply to the classroom situation described in the scenario: perceived discrimination; discrimination based on appearance; and microaggressions.
Q4.Lela’s early childhood care center classroom includes many students of different ethnicities. The assistant director has noticed that she uses many culturally and linguistically responsive practices, including providing materials that reflect each of the families’ home cultures and translating materials, such as classroom newsletters, into the languages spoken within the environment.
During a classroom observation, the assistant director noticed that there was a population of students of a particular ethnicity that Lela tends to interact with less—it’s very subtle, but Lela did not call on these three students during the morning meeting. When two of the children asked Lela to assist in a problem-solving situation, she responded, “Let’s see if you can figure this out on your own.”
The assistant director observed another day, and her concerns were confirmed—there did seem to be distinctly different kind of interaction with these children. When the assistant director brought her concerns to the director, as was their organization’s protocol, the director responded, “Well, children from that background are generally more self-reliant. I don’t think you need to do anything about it.” You continue to monitor the situation despite the director’s dismissal of your claim. You notice that this specific group of children eventually stopped attempting to participate in class. They were less engaged in the activities and less social with the other children.
Explain how the following key concepts apply to the classroom situation described in the scenario: implicit bias; institutional bias; and anti-bias education.
Q5.Carlos is an early childhood professional who works with the 3- and 4-year-olds at an early childhood care center that provides lunch to students. He has two Jewish students and one Muslim student in a group of primarily Christian children. Sometimes these students are not able to eat certain parts of the provided lunches because of religious dietary restrictions, and must request special food in front of the rest of the class. This has a tendency to isolate the children and cause them to stand out more than necessary. Sometimes they are teased for their differences, as the other children have begun to recognize these situations as habitual.
There are other issues as well. For example, Fridays during the winter require that the Jewish student leave earlier than the other children in order to make sundown. The focus on the Christian calendar is another isolating factor. While some of the Jewish holidays are discussed at the center, there is no attention to the holidays and traditions that correspond with Islam. This sometimes causes attendance problems and confusion, as well as the common isolation felt by the students who do not celebrate Christmas and Easter.
Explain how Carlos may be able to mitigate the effects of bias and institutional discrimination on children, families, and the early childhood professionals at the center.
Q6.Thabisa is an early childhood professional at an early childhood care center. A new child named Dana, who has two gay fathers, recently joined her class. She is perfectly comfortable with this, but is a little worried that it may be a controversial issue for some of the parents of other children at the center. Therefore, Thabisa chooses not to discuss it with the rest of the class. Both the fathers have dropped Dana off in the mornings, but none of the children appear to have noticed anything unusual about the family.
One day, the group discussion turns to a focus on the make-up of each child’s family. Many children are excited to discuss their large families, including grandparents, older and younger siblings, and even some step- and half-siblings as well. Dana does not join in the discussion.
Later that afternoon, the children are tasked with drawing pictures of their families. Dana’s picture comprises her two fathers and the two family dogs. The other children see her picture and ask where her mom is, at which point Dana becomes very withdrawn. When her father comes to pick her up later, Thabisa hears her ask him, “Daddy, are we not normal?”
Explain why it is important for the early childhood professional in this scenario to promote acceptance and diversity in early childhood settings.
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